Edited by Maria A. Carrai, Jean-Christophe Defraigne and Jan Wouters
Chapter 5: The Belt and Road Initiative: an interface with multilateral development banks on international cooperation and global governance
China’s proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013 has proven to be a milestone event. It is the first country-driven initiative after the US-led Marshall Plan of 1948 to attract considerable attention among stakeholders worldwide, including states, private-sector actors, academics, and national and international institutions. This chapter explores the BRI’s interface with multilateral development banks (MDBs), primarily the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank and the European Investment Bank. These six MDBs signed a historic joint Memorandum of Understanding with China on 14 May 2017 (China-MDBs MOU) to support the BRI. After an introductory section, the chapter discusses the BRI’s cooperation with various sectors, including MDBs. It then analyzes the China-MDBs MOU and the responses from these MDBs, and shows that through the MOU China is contributing to global governance with MDB support by promoting connectivity networks and sustainable development. It also discusses how the MDBs’ BRI-related projects, programs, and other activities relate to their economic development mandates. The chapter summarizes the varied approaches taken by these MDBs, and assesses whether other, complementary approaches could also be taken to support the BRI. It then provides recommendations for how these MDBs can move forward in maintaining their support for the BRI to promote economic growth and strengthen international cooperation and global governance. It also discusses how China can increase MDBs’ support for the BRI and gain further support for it through international organizations like the United Nations Development Programme. A final section draws the chapter’s conclusions.
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